Revelation 2:26, 27: A Promised Dominion

Verse 26:[1] And he that overcometh, and keepeth (John 6:29; 1 John 3:23) my works unto the end, (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:29, 30; 1 Cor. 6:3; Rev. 3:21; 20:4) to him will I give power over the nations…

[And, etc., καὶ ὁ νικῶν—δώσω αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν] And (or, for [Piscator]) the one overcoming (or, as far as it concerns him that will have overcome [Piscator]: There is a Hebraism here: for the Greek construction would have been τῷ νικῶντι καὶ τηροῦντι, to the one overcoming and keeping, with that αὐτῷ, to him, which follows, omitted [Grotius]: The Nominative is placed absolutely [Brightman, thus Piscator], as in Psalm 11:4;[2] 18:30;[3] Romans 8:3[4] [Brightman], or, if anyone overcome [Beza, thus the Vulgate], namely, impiety [Tirinus]: he that yieldeth not to the terrors or flatteries of impious Jezebel [Menochius out of Ribera]: he that will spurn those evil dogmas: That ὁ νικῶν, he that overcometh, is always repeated, but it is to be understood according to each adjacent matter [Grotius]) and keeping (or, that holdeth fast [Castalio], keepeth [Piscator], observeth [Beza, Lapide]) unto the end (that is, of this life [Tirinus, Grotius, Ribera], as in Revelation 2:10 [Grotius]; or, of the campaign or battle: For the victory is not had earlier, nor is the crown given [Pareus]) my works (that is, either, 1. accomplished by me; that is to say, who continually turns his eyes and mind unto my works and perseverance, so that he might imitate me in both [Lapide]: or, 2. commanded by me [Gomar, similarly Pareus, Ribera, Menochius, Tirinus, Beza, Piscator], as in John 6:28, 29 [Gomar]: Precepts concerning works [Grotius, thus Pareus], common to piety, and proper to his vocation [Pareus]: This very thing is called τηρεῖν, the keeping, τὰς ἐντολὰς, of the commandments, or τὸν λόγον, of the word, or τοὺς λόγους, of the words, Revelation 3:8, 10; 12:17; 14:12; 22:7, 9 [Grotius]; that is to say, he that has ceased from his own works, as in Hebrews 4:10, and lives for me, as it is in 2 Corinthians 5:15, having my will for his rule, and my glory for his end [Durham]) I will give to him power over the Nations (Montanus). [They explain it in a variety of ways:] I will exalt him unto the degree of Presbyter, so that he might judge concerning those that are living not in a Christian manner, but ἐθνικῶς, in a pagan manner. See Matthew 18:17 (Grotius). Others: The sense is, he will prostrate and crush the enemies of truth by the scepter of the word, 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 (certain interpreters in Gomar). Others: I will give to him great power and efficacy in the conversion and sanctification of the Nations (Lapide): They will propagate the Gospel among the Nations, and will be Bishops over those converted Nations (Hammond). Others: I will give to him communion in my kingdom and glory, Matthew 19:28; 25:34; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 6:3; Ephesians 2:6; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 3:21; 4:4 (Junius). He shall partake of my victory over the nations (Durham), or of my dominion and glory in the heavens (Pareus, similarly Gomar). They shall exercise power in the day of judgment over all the nations that did not submit to Christ (Ribera, Menochius, Lapide), and over those by which they were tempted so that they might be corrupted (Ribera); judging them with Christ, and delivering them to eternal death (Ribera, Menochius). What is here promised is not given in this life (Ribera, similarly Pareus, Gomar), as a great many maintain, but after death (Ribera); for it is not promised to the one fighting on earth (Gomar, similarly Pareus), but to the victor or the one persevering unto the end of life (Gomar, similarly Ribera).

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end: see the notes on Revelation 2:7, 11, 17. Overcoming is here expounded by keeping Christ’s works; that is, either the works by him commanded, or walking as he walked, and persevering therein to the end of his or their lives. To him will I give power over the nations; either to judge those who live heathenish lives; or to convert nations to the faith; or, which is most probable, he shall sit with me upon a throne in the day of judgment, Matthew 19:28, and judge the world, 1 Corinthians 6:2.

Verse 27:[5] (Ps. 2:8, 9; 49:14; Dan. 7:22; Rev. 12:5; 19:15) And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

[And, etc., καὶ ποιμανεῖ, etc.] It is from the Septuagint version of Psalm 2:9, where they did not read תְּרֹעֵם, thou shalt break them, like the Massoretes, but תִּרְעֶם, thou shalt shepherd them, from רָעָה, to pasture, not from רוּעַ, to break, with the sense reverting to the same thing. For because pastors rule the herd, therefore any sort of government is expressed through μετάληψιν/metalepsis by the language of pasturing, even if it tends toward the hurt of those that are ruled. This is apparent in Micah 5:5. The iron rod is nothing other than the Sword: by which is here figuratively understood the Word of God, a function of which is also Excommunication. Thus also Revelation 12:5; 19:15 (Grotius). The sense: Instead of Pastoral power, he shall exercise Royal power, partly, 1. of grace, by which he shall powerfully convict some of sin, and lead to contrition, repentance, and faith; partly, 2. of vengeance, by which he will destroy rebels, and thus introduce Christianity, with Paganism driven out. Now, there is in this phrase an elegant variation from the custom of Shepherds, who with a rod only rule a flock: but he that feeds the Gentiles with the fare of the word has need of the power of God, by which he might pierce hearts, etc. (Hammond). He shall rule (or, feed [Vatablus, Drusius, Piscator], or, rule after the likeness of a shepherd [Vatablus]) them with an iron rod (Beza, Piscator, etc.), that is, either, 1. with a rod most straight, or of equity (Estius), with a severe and constant authority and justice (Zegers); with a rod inflexible against evil: or, 2. with a hard rod (Menochius, Estius), as it follows (Estius), harshly and severely: for iron is used as a Metaphor for a hard thing (Drusius’ Classes of Proverbs[6] 2:3:78): and an iron rod is always taken in an unfavorable sense, as in Psalm 2:9; Revelation 12:5; 19:15 (Ribera).

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: an iron rod either signifies a right rod, that will not be easily bent and made crooked; or a severe rod, which is most probably the sense: see Psalm 2:9; Revelation 12:5. The words by the psalmist are applied to Christ, and to the church, Revelation 12:5: to particular saints here, who rule the nations either in Christ their Head, or with Christ as their Chieftain, with the word of God powerfully convincing the world of sin and righteousness.

[As, etc., ὡς—συντρίβεται[7]] Or, συντριβήσεται[8] [as Grotius reads and adds[9]]; after the Hebrew fashion the Future is in the place of whatever tense (Grotius). As earthen vessels they are crushed (Beza, Piscator), or, they shall be shattered (Vulgate, Erasmus), that is, irreparably (Menochius, similarly Drusius). He will handle them in this way, as earthen vessels are wont to be broken, without hope of reconstruction, Jeremiah 19:10, 11 (Grotius). While clay is in the hand of the potter, it is easily formed and reformed, Jeremiah 18, not idem, the same [perhaps item/likewise], in the case of a shattered earthen vessel (Grotius, similarly Menochius). The words are from Psalm 2:9. The matter itself alludes to that which was predicted of Jehu, 2 Kings 9:6. Now, a perpetual Exclusion from communion is signified, which punishment was attending Idolaters and Adulterers in the first ages (Grotius). Others: Since conversion unto the faith consists in repentance, which is called contrition of heart in Psalm 51:17, and excludes all returning to forsaken sins; that which cannot be better expressed than by the contrition of an earthen vessel, therefore that conversion is signified by this phrase, both here and in Psalm 2 (Hammond).

As the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; and all paganism and heathen idolatries shall be broken in pieces. Or, in the day of judgment, the saints that persevere shall sit with Christ, and judge and condemn the world severely; and then they shall be broken in pieces, never again to be soldered or cemented.

[As (it signifies a similitude, not parity, as in Luke 22:29 [Grotius]) also I received from my Father] Namely, power over the nations (Castalio), the power of judging (Grotius, thus Menochius). And He has regard to the matter which is given, that is, dominion; and the way in which it is given, that is, the certainty with which it shall be possessed, which is common to them with Christ (Durham).

Even as I received of my Father; for such a power and authority my Father hath given me, and I will give it to all them.

[1] Greek: καὶ ὁ νικῶν καὶ ὁ τηρῶν ἄχρι τέλους τὰ ἔργα μου, δώσω αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν ἐπὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν.

[2] Psalm 11:4: “The Lord in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.”

[3] Psalm 18:30: “God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

[4] Romans 8:3: “For the impossible thing of the law, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…”

[5] Greek: καὶ ποιμανεῖ αὐτοὺς ἐν ῥάβδῳ σιδηρᾷ· ὡς τὰ σκεύη τὰ κεραμικά, συντρίβεται· ὡς κἀγὼ εἴληφα παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου.

[6] Proverbiorum Classes.

[7] In the present tense.

[8] In the future tense.

[9] The weight of the Byzantine textual tradition supports Grotius’ reading.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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